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By Rappahannock Foot and Ankle Specialists, PLC
June 04, 2018
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Foot Care   Footwear   Child Podiatry  

While it might not be something you think about often (or at all), the health of your child’s feet is important. Your child is growing by leaps and bounds and certain habits and other factors can affect how your child’s feet develop or if they experience injuries or other problems down the road. Unfortunately, a lot of children end up wearing shoes that are far too small for their feet, which can lead to pain, structural imbalances and certain foot deformities.

We know that going shoe shopping is certainly not a walk in the park for most parents; however, it’s an important component to making sure your child maintains healthy feet. There are many things to think about when it comes to picking the right shoes, and your podiatrist can also provide suggestions and tips to make the world of shoe shopping easier for you and your little one.

Some factors that you should consider when shopping for the right shoes include:

  • Your child’s age
  • The shoe’s material
  • Your child’s shoe size
  • The shoe’s structure

A good rule of thumb is to shop for shoes every 2 months when your child is between the ages of 1 and 2 years old. Once they reach three and four, you’ll want to purchase new shoes approximately every four months. At the point that your child is five or six years old, every six months is a good time to swap out old shoes for new ones.

As you might already know, the bones of a baby or infant’s feet are soft and haven’t fully developed. To protect your child’s feet it’s important that they wear socks and soft shoes. Make sure that as your child’s feet grow that the toes have room to wiggle and move around within the shoes. Bunched-up toes are a major no-no!

Since your little one is growing by leaps and bounds it is important that you are constantly checking their shoe size for changes. Remember that feet swell throughout the day, so shoe shopping should be done at the end of the day when feet are at their largest. If you aren’t sure what size shoe your little one wears, you can ask one of the store’s footwear specialists for help.

Of course, you can’t forget the importance of choosing the right socks, as well. Socks can prevent your little one from blisters, calluses and other foot problems. They can also wick away sweat and prevent fungal infections. When it comes to choosing the right socks for your little one consider the type of fabric, your child’s activity level, the size of your child’s feet and sensitivities they might have to certain fabrics.

When in doubt, you should talk to a foot doctor who can provide you with advice, answer any questions you might have about your child’s developing feet and also provide comprehensive care, when needed.

By Rappahannock Foot and Ankle Specialists, PLC
May 14, 2018
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Foot Health   Aging Feet  

As you age, it becomes even more important to take care of yourself, especially your feet. Foot health tends to decline in seniors for many reasons, including:

∙       Years of walking

∙       Improper footwear

∙       Poor circulation

∙       Diseases related to foot problems such as diabetes and gout

∙       Improperly trimming toenails

When problems are ignored, they may worsen and lead to more dangerous issues. There are easy ways to take care of aging feet and nonsurgical treatments to relieve pain.

When to talk to your doctor

It’s important to know when symptoms are just common aches and pains and when they might be something more serious. Even if your pain isn’t related to something serious, you still need to take care of your feet since they are the foundation of the body. Aging foot pains may cause pain in the knees, hips, or back.

Some symptoms to look out for are:

∙       Brittle or discolored toenails

∙       Discoloration or cold/numb feet

∙       Severe pain in feet and ankles

∙       Blisters or cracked skin

∙       Sores and wounds

Tips for maintaining healthy feet

Taking care of feet is simple and will pay off in the long run. Some easy tips for foot health are:

∙       Inspect your feet and nails regularly

∙       Use soap to wash your feet and always thoroughly dry them

∙       Use lotion to prevent dry, itchy, and cracked skin

∙       Wear properly fitted shoes and clean socks

∙       Trim your toenails regularly

∙       Don’t cross your legs

∙       Elevate your feet when seated

Taking care of aging feet is simple, and your dedicated foot doctors are here to help. Foot care is something you shouldn’t avoid, and individuals that aren’t able to take care of their feet are encouraged to see their podiatrist for foot care appointments. If you have any questions about taking care of your aging feet, call our office today to make an appointment!

By Rappahannock Foot and Ankle Specialists, PLC
May 01, 2018
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Bunions  

BunionsWhat is a Bunion?

Are you dealing with a bunion? A bunion is a protrusion of the bone at the base of the big toe. While a bunion may seem like a bump, according to the (APMA) American Podiatric Medical Association a bunion is actually the enlargement of the joint at the base of the big toe – the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint. While bunions are a common foot disorder, it is not something that you should ignore as bunions can cause discomfort and become inflamed if left untreated.
 

What Causes Bunions?

Bunions can be hereditary and aggravated by the shoes you wear, especially high heels or shoes that don’t have enough room for your toes. Certain factors can also contribute to the development of bunions, such as if you have flat feet or low arches or if your feet pronate (when the ankles roll in towards each other during movement and cause excessive and prolonged pressure on the joints in the feet). If you are dealing with bunions, or think that you are, it’s important to seek help from a qualified podiatrist to get the care you need to relieve your pain and discomfort.
 

How a Podiatrist Can Help

Your podiatrist may recommend certain conservative at home steps you can take to minimize the discomfort. The first thing they may recommend is that you look at or change the kind of shoes you wear. It’s important to find shoes that are wide enough to accommodate your toes. Shoes such as high heels are likely to make the problem worse. Bunion pads can also help with your discomfort.
Severe bunion pain can restrict your mobility. Untreated bunions can continue to get worse if you don’t do something about them and can lead to other issues such as calluses and corns, or you may experience pain or redness on the site of the bunion, as well as swelling.
Other treatment options include orthotics or a combination of physical therapy and medication to relieve pressure and inflammation of the bunion. In severe cases, surgery may be needed to resolve the issue.
 

Prevention is Key

We all like to remain active, and oftentimes it is the result of this activity that can make your bunion pain worse. You should visit your podiatrist if you notice any issues so they can be caught and treated as early as possible. Call our office today.
By Rappahannock Foot and Ankle Specialists, PLC
April 17, 2018
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Foot Stretches  

The feet bear a lot of stress from day to day. That’s why podiatrists recommend stretching as a great way to revitalize and strengthen the feet. Simple stretches can be performed at home as a part of your morning routine, or even at work while you’re sitting at your desk. Improving your flexibility through stretching can help prevent foot injuries, increase your mobility, improve performance and posture, and relieve stress.

When Should I Stretch?

It is especially important to stretch properly before starting any exercise routine. When muscles are warmed up prior to a workout, the strain on muscles, tendons and joints can be reduced and injuries avoided.  

Simple stretches include flexing your feet repeatedly while pointing your toes to help build strength in the foot muscles or rotating your foot from side to side while you point your toes. Massaging the muscles in your feet with your hands is another helpful way to promote circulation and relaxation.

Always allow at least 5-10 minutes to fully stretch your muscles, which should include a stretch/hold/relax pattern, without any pulling or bouncing. Before beginning any new type of stretch, visit your podiatrist first to ensure it will be safe for your particular foot pain.

What Kind of Stretches Should I Do?

Here are just a few helpful stretches you can do at home to help lessen foot pain and improve foot health:

  • Stretch for Calf Muscles: Excessive tightness of the calf muscle can cause many foot problems. To stretch this muscle, face a wall from approximately 2-3 feet away. Lean into the wall, keeping heels on the floor and knees extended. Hold for 10 seconds as the calf muscle stretches, then relax. Do not bounce. Repeat five times.

  • Stretch for Hamstring: Put your foot with knee straight on a chair or table. Keep the other leg on the floor straight with knee locked. Lower your head toward the knee on the chair or table until the muscles are tight. Hold to a count of 10 then relax. Repeat five times, and then switch to the other leg.

  • Stretch for Plantar Fascia: This stretch for heel pain can be performed in the seated position. Cross your affected foot over the knee of your other leg. Grasp the toes of your painful foot and slowly pull them toward you. The fascia should feel like a tight band along the bottom of your foot when stretched. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds. Repeat it 20 times for each foot. This exercise is most effective when you first wake up, before standing or walking.

Stretching in combination with supportive footwear will help you keep your feet healthy and fit. Whether you’re gearing up to train for a marathon, or simply looking to revitalize your feet after a long day at work, talk to your podiatrist at about the best foot stretches for your individual needs.

By Rappahannock Foot and Ankle Specialists, PLC
April 02, 2018
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Stress Fractures  

Stress Fractures

Stress fractures are notoriously misdiagnosed and undertreated. In many cases, symptoms may persist for an extended period of time before the diagnosis of a stress fracture is even made. That’s because stress fractures don’t typically occur from an unforeseen trauma, as with a sprain, but rather from repetitive stress.

What Are Stress Fractures?

Stress fractures are tiny, hairline breaks in the bones. They can occur in any bone, but most often afflict the weight-bearing bones of the lower leg and foot. Athletes are especially susceptible to stress fractures, as this common injury is often a problem of overuse.  It frequently results from overtraining and high impact sports, such as running, basketball and tennis.  People with an abnormal foot structure or insufficient bone may also be more vulnerable to suffer a stress fracture.

What Are the Symptoms of Stress Fractures?

Pain is the primary symptom of a stress fracture. In the early stages, the pain may begin toward the end of an activity and resolve with rest. Untreated, the pain will eventually persistent with minimal activity.

The most common symptoms of stress fractures include:

  • Pain with or following normal activity

  • Pain at the site of the fracture

  • Tenderness and swelling at a point on the bone

  • Pain intensified with weight bearing

Rest, ice, compression, and elevation are recommended as an initial treatment plan for stress fractures. You should also minimize all weight-bearing activities until you have fully recovered. Other treatments may include immobilization of the foot, footwear modifications, orthotic devices and in some severe cases, surgery. Rest is the key to a full recovery, and returning too quickly to normal activity may result in more serious damage.

Overuse injuries and stress fractures aren’t completely unavoidable, but you can take extra care to help prevent stress fractures from occurring. Remember to increase any activity or training program slowly and gradually. Wear supportive footwear with good cushioning to help manage the forces placed on your feet and legs during high impact activities. If pain or swelling returns, stop the activity and rest for a few days.

Stress fractures come on gradually and may not present obvious symptoms at first, so it’s important to recognize the early warning signs to prevent further damage. If you suspect a stress fracture, contact our office right away for an evaluation. Proper diagnosis is essential to prevent further damage and improve recovery time, as stress fractures tend to get worse and may even lead to a complete break if not treated right away. A podiatrist will examine your foot or ankle, take an x-ray to determine if there is a break or crack in the bone, and recommend an appropriate treatment plan for optimal recovery.





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